I'll admit that I'm in the minority here in Chicago by owning my own vehicle and the fact that said vehicle is a truck.
Of the five people in my apartment building, my wife and I own both cars. As younger folks in the city, the three people downstairs have no vehicles between them. I've tried to be as unapproachable as possible to ward off any conversations regarding borrowing my truck.
Sure, I'd be happy to drive someone to the hospital in an emergency - but if there's blood, they're riding in the bed, no doubt about it.
It's no secret that the city would prefer that I drive something more sensible, like a Honda Accord, that takes up less space, adds less to the carbon footprint of the city and isn't so tough on the streets.
But there's the rub.
I drive a Ford Ranger that is small in comparison to modern SUVs and sips gas by comparison. I can't help but be a little frustrated when shelling out $180 for my yearly city sticker. Where do I file an appeal?
For those who haven't had the pleasure of purchasing city stickers, Chicago requires a sticker for street parking every year. In theory, you're paying for city services that are required by vehicle owners and they're more than happy to ticket the hell out of you for non-compliance. For newbies to the city, get ready to see those tickets pile up through the end of June as the city nails people who skated by without a sticker this year.
(Additionally, here is the link for online sticker purchase if you don't feel like standing in line at the local currency exchange for what will seem like hours on end.)
As a fairly rational person, I saw the difference between sticker charges - $75 for a car and $180 for a truck - and tried to work out the price jump. Trucks are usually heavier, creating a disproportionate amount of wear and tear on the roads and, they're longer, taking up more space, even when parked on the street.
The funny thing is that when I was looking up the vehicle weight for the form, I needed another vehicle to compare it to, so I chose my wife's six-cylinder coupe.
The tale of the tape shows that my truck gets roughly the same gas mileage (two miles better in the city, two miles worse on the highway) and is just over a foot longer. Still, the truck costs twice the price, but is a hair narrower and only 18 pounds heavier. So much for the wear and tear theory.
I understand the idea behind different plates for the big trucks and why the city tries to police the scrapper trucks that patrol the alleys of the city for reusable junk and metal. I understand the law keeping bigger pickups off Lake Shore Drive, even if I think it's stupid.
But to charge extra for a truck, regardless of the license plates, which for smaller trucks are the same as the city's cars? How can I not feel screwed?
If I'm going to pay for it, I'm getting my money's worth - if you need to find my truck, it'll be the one parked diagonally, halfway on the sidewalk.
(Photo taken for Siberia, Minnesota - it's my Toby Keith portrait of the old truck, strategically hiding the destroyed rear fender on the passenger side.)